One of the popular watches for those who want a James Bond style Rolex without breaking the bank is the Seiko Sea Urchin. This automatic self-winding watch is chunky and as well-built as the big brand Swiss divers watches – but costs a fraction of the price. Here’s our verdict on Seiko’s little stunner.
Long Term Review – Seiko Sea Urchin SNZF15K1
Seiko’s “5” range has for decades been the perfect balance for many between price and quality in an automatic wristwatch. More “grown-up” than a battery powered watch but more affordable than a Swiss-made watch, Seiko found a niche for an affordable, accurate timepiece for the connoisseur or new collector.
The Seiko Sea Urchin has four of the standard Seiko 5 features – an automatic movement, a day and date display, water resistance and a durable case and bracelet. The fifth feature – a crown at the 4 O’Clock position – has been eschewed in favour of a standard “3 O’Clock” crown. No problems at all with the build quality, and it will withstand almost anything you throw at it (or indeed anything you throw it at). The diver’s bezel is just stiff enough to feel firm but turns with a satisfying click with hardly any play.
The bracelet is really top notch. It’s heavy and appears to be made from solid links – although closer inspection reveals that it is actually formed from pieces of single-folded steel. It has micro adjustments at the clasp to get the size just right and a diver’s extension. Far better than it deserves for the price!
One of the really nice features of the Seiko Sea Urchin is the display case back. That’s unusual at this price point and although it’s just a standard unfinished Seiko movement it is still nice to see it ticking away.
The Verdict on the Seiko Sea Urchin SNZF15K1
If you enjoy desk diving then this is a great choice of watch. The 10 bar water resistance makes it suitable for nothing more than washing your hands, but most dive watches never see the sea so we won’t hold that against it. It is attractive, well-built and accurate, and everyone should have a Seiko in their collection. Recommended.
Buy a Seiko Sea Urchin SNZF15K1
Seiko has a habit of switching up their range all the time and many watches – like this one – are hard to find in the UK. We always recommend trying eBay for a bargain. There’s not a lot that can go wrong with a Seiko and repairs are relatively cheap because parts are so easily available. Make sure you get a nice example, though, and never buy a used Seiko from the Philippines – the few that are not counterfeits are usually of very poor quality indeed. You can also buy a new Seiko Sea Urchin from Amazon.